Student reports false crime to Ball State police

A Ball State University student confessed to police that she made up her reported Oct. 15 assault outside Woodworth and DeHority complexes, Director of Public Safety Gene Burton said.

Burton said Karina Villa, 19, of Warsaw, told police she was lying about the crime after investigators called her in for a second interview on Nov. 4.

"The detectives noticed that there were a couple of inconsistencies between her statement and evidence they were collecting during their investigation," he said.

Burton said he didn't want to elaborate about the "inconsistencies" to avoid ruining a possible criminal case.

"False reporting is a crime and it's a crime against the university," he said. "[Villa's] actions caused quite a stir here on campus."

University Police turned the Villa case in to the Delaware County Prosecutor's office on Tuesday, he said.

The prosecutor's office was unavailable for comment Wednesday because it was closed in observance of Veteran's Day.

Villa originally told police she was grabbed from behind on her way back to her dorm from the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. She said her would-be assailant ran away when another student came to her aid.

Villa's fake report came three days after two Ball State students were robbed at gunpoint in the Scheumann Stadium overflow parking lot.

Villa did not respond to an e-mail request for comment as of midnight Wednesday.

Though Burton said this isn't the first time a student has falsely reported a crime, it is an uncommon occurrence.

"I'd be surprised if it [happened] even once a year," he said.

David Fried, director of Student Rights and Community Standards, said giving false information to a university official, such as Ball State police, is a violation of the Student Code.

In general, he said violations to the Student Code can result in disciplinary action ranging anywhere from an official reprimand to suspension or expulsion. Before disciplinary action is taken, Fried said the university evaluates things such as the student's prior disciplinary record and the details of the case.

Fried declined to comment on Villa's specific case.

Gregory Morrison, associate professor of criminal justice and criminology, said it is important that police pursue criminal cases against people who give false information to police in order to deter future fake reports.

"If there's no cost involved — no price to be paid, if you will — by the person who has made up this false accusation, then that can kind of leave the door open to other people doing it," Morrison said.

False reporting is a serious offense because of the effect it has on the community, especially a small one like Ball State, he said.

"It sends a distorted message as to what is actually occurring, and then also the police end up spending time on something that didn't happen, which means they can't be spending their time, their money on something that did happen," Morrison said.

Included in that wasted money are students' tuition dollars and state funds, he said.

According to Indiana Code, knowingly giving a false report of a commission of a crime is potentially a Class B misdemeanor.

Morrison said most misdemeanor sentences, though they vary, do not exceed a year of prison time or a monetary fine.


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